Transition to HS Checklist

Attend high school open house before 9th grade

  • Read and understand the policies for your high school including appropriate dress for school, attendance policies, and what to do if you are absent. Your school handbook will be distributed during the open house and can be found on your high school’s website.
  • Learn the key locations at school including the library, media center, counseling center, gym, and of course, the cafeteria!

Get to know your teachers

  • Get to class on time and be prepared
  • Understand your teachers’ homework policies and find out what to do if you are absent
  • Be involved with your class: ask appropriate questions and participate in class discussions
  • Talk to your teachers about individual questions before or after class time
  • Be respectful
  • Introduce yourself to other school staff including counselors, administrators, librarians,…even the lunch ladies.


  • Expect homework every day: homework includes written assignments, reading, reviewing notes, studying for tests, completing projects, and previewing the next lesson
  • Make homework a priority: plan to spend at least 2 to 3 hours a night on homework
  • Use weekends to complete assignments
  • Complete and turn in assignments on time
  • Stay organized

Get Involved

  • Join after-school clubs, projects, or sports
  • Take courses that will require afterschool involvement such as: band, chorus, orchestra, dance, drama, newspaper, yearbook, foreign language club, etc.
  • Community service projects provide a fun way to meet new people
  • Consider taking on a leadership role in a club or student council

Challenge Yourself

  • Take the most challenging courses you can handle
  • Stretch yourself: consider taking Advance Placement (AP)
  • Take foreign language and other electives

Ask for help when you need it

  • If you are having difficulty with a subject, ask your teacher for help
  • Join or create a study group
  • Talk with trusted adults about situations that make you feel uncomfortable such as bullying, dating or drug pressures, harassment (whether at school or online), or anything else you need help with
  • High school resource centers can help with many issues you may have

Stay focused – keep planning for college

  • Keep talking with your parents, teachers, counselors, and others about going to college
  • Start looking for college scholarships – some can be awarded as early as freshman year of high school; your school counseling office and the Internet are good places to start searching

Make good use of your summer

  • If you have summer reading assignments, do them before the last week of vacation.
  • Consider going to a summer camp or other summer enrichment program; scholarships are sometimes available for eligible students
  • If you are 16 or over, consider a summer job; get working papers from your school counseling office. Find summer jobs at your local youth employment office or the counseling office
  • Students younger than 16 can still find summer jobs such as babysitting, lawn care, or pet care for neighbors; or volunteer to help with the elderly at a nearby nursing home by serving meals, playing games, or just visiting
  • Read books for fun. Summer is a great time to get in some “light reading”